Joanna Champney

Joanna Champney is the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health at the Department of Health and Social Services.  Prior to joining the Division, Champney served as Chief of Planning, Research & Reentry at the Delaware Department of Correction (DOC).  During her tenure at DOC, Champney established and led the Department’s new Office of Reentry following Governor Carney’s issuance of Executive Order 27 to improve prisoner reentry. As part of the Governor’s Executive Order, she served as a Commission member of the Delaware Correctional Reentry Commission (DCRC) and is currently Chairing the Commission’s Transition Team. Champney’s team expanded DOC’s use of evidence-based practices, including implementation of cognitive behavioral therapy programming for incarcerated people, improving probationer and inmate assessment strategies, and creating an evidence-based release planning system for staff to utilize with individuals preparing to leave prison custody. The Planning Unit also managed all research and data projects for the DOC as well as accreditation and compliance activities for DOC’s facilities.

At DOC, Champney oversaw implementation of several large federal grants that supported system improvement, program evaluation, and cognitive behavioral therapy and vocational training for incarcerated people. In partnership with the Bureau of Prisons, Champney also implemented compliance tracking processes for provision of clinical care to incarcerated people who have mental illness. She also was instrumental in the recent redesign of the DOC’s prison based substance use disorder treatment program, Road to Recovery (R2R), which has now implemented modern, evidence-based set of curricula and has adopted a treatment track system to differentiate between levels of care.

Prior to joining state government, Joanna served as the Executive Director of the Delaware Center for Justice (DCJ), which serves a variety of justice-involved populations through direct services, advocacy and policy reform work. While at DCJ, she oversaw a combination of direct service programs and policy reform initiatives. Previously, she worked with a criminal defense law firm in Maryland and with a finance company in Delaware. She earned a Master’s Degree in Criminology from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Delaware.